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5901 Westchester Park Drive
College Park, MD 20740

School website
(301) 441-2100
(301) 441-2105
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Map of Friends Community School address.

May 15, 2015
There is NO perfect school whether public, charter, or private but this week reminded me of why my two children (5th and 8th gr) attend FCS. Earlier this week, the 5th grade social studies classes held a mock trial in front of a judge. Students argued on both sides of the legal vs. illegal immigration issue! Last night, the 7th and 8th grade students presented their Year End Projects to the community. A culminating activity of 3 months of research, interviews, field experience/service, and advocacy, we listened as the young people (not little kids) shared their knowledge of topics that ranged from foster care to animal rights; from environmental issues to domestic violence. Our 8th graders testified at governmental meetings, wrote letters to the editor of newspapers and governmental officials, and created brochures. The learning that occurred with this process will follow them into high school and beyond. This is why my kids are at FCS!

- submitted by a parent

March 29, 2015
Amazing to see another review that sounds just like us. This school is excellent for average students...which most of us are. But when it comes to gifted kids, they struggle to accommodate them. The upper middle school, as the other reviewer stated, is in a shambles, and the school resents feedback. One family who is very vocal with suggestions and concerns has virtually been ostracized by the school administration. FCS has a lot to offer, just be sure it is a fit for your child. Don't settle for a glossy description of their program...as HOW they will accomplish certain things, what, specifically, do teachers and staff do. And be prepared to leave after sixth grade.

- submitted by a parent

March 15, 2015
This is our 9th and final year at FCS, and I am very gratified with my children's education there. After two years in the public school system when "No Child Left Untested" was gathering steam, being able to switch to FCS was such a blessing. Despite changes of personnel, moving into a different building, and growth, the school has never strayed from its core mission of educating the whole child along a set of wonderful Quaker principles. These principles are the bedrock of the institution and, in my opinion, should be how every child worldwide is educated. (I'm not a Quaker, and nor are many of the families at FCS.) I will be honest: This school is not for everyone, but nor should it be. If you are a "Tiger Parent" who wants their child to excel only at math and/or science in order to be competitive on the world stage, this school may not be for you. If you believe in a holistic model of education, where many different aspects of the developing child are addressed to prepare them for a life of service -- with features of positive conflict resolution, stewardship of the environment, and seeing that of God in every human being -- then this is the place for you and your child.

- submitted by a parent

March 14, 2015
I have two children at FCS, both very bright kids but not necessarily academically inclined. FCS has worked hard to tailor the education to my kids' needs, which they can do without exacting an opportunity cost on the rest of the classes because it is small and because they are committed to such care. My 8th grader, for example, was falling further and further behind in math, even though he was making honor roll at his old school. He's now in a very small class at FCS and is not only all caught up, he *likes* math and is getting high marks. FCS tries hard! And yes, there are some difficult kids (and high maintenance parents, ahem), but welcome to 21st century America. Considering that my child was regularly coming home from public school bruised, I'm not going to get in a big twist about a few bratty kids. To be fair, we fell in love with Quaker pedagogy with its emphasis on character education, but it's not for everyone -- if you're really, really type A, you might feel as though you're stuck in a long conversation with a slow talker.

- submitted by a parent

March 11, 2015
We originally fell in love with FCS when we visited more than 10 years ago and wished we could do school over again ourselves so we could participate in what we were observing. Since then, both of our kids have or will attend through 8th grade, and overall, we've only seen continuous improvement in many aspects of the school, from administration to teaching to facilities to extra curricular activities. It's not a perfect school -- because no school is -- but we've been impressed with the way the current school head has handled the various situations that arise in any school. FCS is a gem of a school option for this community.

- submitted by a parent

February 27, 2015
By all means take advantage of the fabulous lower school but be prepared to leave after sixth grade. Sadly, the teaching is eroding more and more, and the curriculum is lackluster. Our daughter is bored every single day in an environment where they claim to meet each child at their level. Upper middle school is a huge disappointment, and the administration is dead set on doing it "their way.". A great school that should stop at sixth grade.

- submitted by a parent

September 05, 2014
Our daughter has attended Friends Community School (FCS) since kindergarden. We could not be more happy with the environment the school provides. She is being challenged academically, is learning to work collaboratively with other children, and is developing a sense of responsibility to care for the environment and make the world a better place. We value the school's richly diverse student body (reflecting diversity's many dimensions) and their extremely nice parents (it's sort of a chicken and the egg to figure out what came first nice parents or nice kids and how that relates to the school's magical ability to attract parents whose occupations and volunterism reflect the Quaker values of simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality, and stewardship). We also appreciate the school's zero tolerance for bullying. FCS is selective and not everyone who has the money and applies can get in. There is, however, modest financial aid (up to half off) for those who do get in but cannot afford the tuition.

- submitted by a parent

June 03, 2014
After completing a tour of the school, I was extremely impress with its philosophy; administration; and small class sizes. Weeks after the decision deadline,I received an outdated template with the incorrect date, spacing and foreign characters; stating the applicant was on the wait list.3 days later I discovered the school was still recruiting for this program.I immediately called the school and determined it was a mistake.Weeks later I realized the website had the same information. After calling the school head,I was finally informed that she did not get accepted into the school.The reason for this review is to simply inform applicants/parents-if you do not meet a certain criteria or do not appear to be the perfect fit , you will not be accepted. The criterion is not related to education which should be an important evaluation tool.Although the school suggests it supports diversity;equality; respect; and integrity-failure to disclose truthful information to any applicant does not uphold these values the school so proudly promote! If you are a prospective parent and meet the predetermined criteria-you shouldn t encounter any problem; however, for those who do not, please beware!

- submitted by a parent

June 04, 2013
Update on some of the comments made previously. As a parent who is known to throw temper tantrums when the school isn't doing what I feel they should be, I have looked at MANY schools for points of comparison. Guess what? We're still here. FCS has been on a continuum learning to balance their kind, open and understanding approach to kids with one of discipline. I can tell you first hand that this school year has shown DRAMATIC progress in this area, and discipline is much more effective. The school has put in place more formal guidelines for what is and isn't acceptable, and for what is expected of teachers in their treatment of kids who misbehave. The results are extremely noticeable. Also, with this year's addition of specific lower and middle school heads, FCS has had marked success in defining and enforcing expectations overall. Come visit...ask the "hard questions." You won't be disappointed. And you absolutely will not find a more kind, open, accepting, safe and challenging school in the county.

- submitted by a parent

January 12, 2013
I have to distinctly disagree with the recent posts about bullying and lack of inclusiveness. I have two children at FCS, both of whom are thriving. I do understand the dynamics that the posters are referencing. A few of the classes seem to have a large number of very strong personalities, and because FCS is a small school the strong personalities can take some time and effort to balance. This is true of any small school, in my experience. However, FCS is markedly low on the human behaviors that I have seen everywhere in my life that would qualify as bullying or aggressive behavior. One of my children was bullied in another school; at FCS that same child has felt included from the very beginning. I have spent time working on projects with the students at FCS myself, including some of the students that anyone could plainly see have more dominant personalities. I have found them all to be accessible, good-hearted, and enthusiastic about their schoolwork. Given that this is accomplished in a school environment that grants all the students far more independence than many traditional schools, I find it to be a wonderful teaching model for skills that will last a lifetime.

- submitted by a parent

June 08, 2012
I just ended my 7th grade year at FCS today and i feel so lucky to be going to such an amazing school. I began here in 2nd grade. Of course there are a couple teachers here and there with whom my learning style doesn't work so well, but my adviser/homeroom teacher is happy to help me in any way. The kids are so accepting and teachers feel like friends rather than teachers. This is the perfect school for me, and when my sibling was having some issues at school, they were willing to bend over backwards to help her and supported me so much just when I needed it. The academics program is wonderful. Pre-algebra was easy for me, so I got extra, harder work and I helped other kids. The teachers have prepared so many ways to accommodate learning styles in one class. I love the meeting partners program too, and how I'm allowed to read to the Kindergarteners at their lunchtime! They're adding a lot on to the school between this year and next---a stage, lockers for MS, new art room and LS science lab. I'm really excited for next year and sad it's summer...

- submitted by a community member

May 21, 2012
We witnessed this as well. Our child attended a trial day here and came back home complaining that a few kids simply dominated the class, walking around, shouting out, talking during classtime, interrupting, and the worst thing is that the teacher didn't succeed in doing a thing to stop it, like this is a normal occurrence. My child is normally pretty social but felt belittled and disrespected by the other students.

- submitted by a community member

April 29, 2012
Re: the november 22 comment. There isn't much in terms of physical bullying at fcs -- but i have to agree that the rough, loud kids do have control of the school. The problem is that there really is no repercussion for misbehavior in class. For instance, lets say a boys acts up and hits someone. He won't be punished... the whole class instead will be forced to stay inside for recess. The boy learns only that he will not be held responsible for his actions... and the other kids learn that they may as well misbehave too, what do they have to lose? So classes often start out with only a few bad apples, but within a few months the rudeness and aggressiveness have spread to the whole class. We've been lucky to have been in a class without any such problems, but we've seen other classes in the school suffer because the school refuses to do anything about disrespectful or disruptive behavior. I know several other parents who are leaving because of this.

- submitted by a parent

November 23, 2011
I feel compelled to respond to the parent posting of November 22, to address the statement that mean kids run roughshod over the more timid kids. We have a child with learning differences and have felt nothing but acceptance from the teachers, administrative staff and students. We see no evidence of exclusion, bullying or mean spiritedness from the students at FCS. I can't help but wonder if this parent tried to work out their differences with the teachers and staff . I wish them the best in their new school

- submitted by a parent

November 22, 2011
This school has so much potential but it never quite lives up to its lofty goals. While it deems itself as green, the kids hardly ever go outside for any time with nature (despite it being right next to Greenbelt National Forest). It claims to handle conflict resolution well, yet in many classes, the mean girls (and boys) run roughshod over the more timid kids, and our teacher didn't notice or care or do much about it. We left last year, so can't speak to the recent personnel changes, so maybe they are trying to improve things. There are some great teachers here, but overall, things could be better if they actually were as respectful, inclusive, progressive, and as green as they think they are.

- submitted by a parent

October 25, 2011
We are finishing eight great years at FCS and can testify that the school is both academically challenging and socially engaging. Students are taught the Quaker values of conflict resolution from first grade, and the academic environment thrives with a student focused education, instead of the teacher focused education found in local public schools. Highly recommended.

- submitted by a parent

October 19, 2011
Our son is in his second year at FCS. We are very pleased with the atmosphere, staff professionalism, progressive teaching and individualized instruction that our son has received. This school is dedicated to celebrating each person as they are and helping them to reach their full potential. We highly recommend this school.

- submitted by a parent

October 12, 2011
We are new to FCS this year, but feel like we have finally found a home, with integrity, true diversity, and an emphasis on ethics and values over the bells and whistles. We'll weigh in more as the year goes on.

- submitted by a parent

October 11, 2011
Our children have attended FCS for 8 years now and we believe they have gotten an excellent education. The school is able to focus on meeting children where they are (academically) and urging them to reach new heights. We love the emphasis on Quaker values such as simplicity, integrity, peace and community. We know our children's friends and families very well and cherish the years we have spent at Friends Community School.

- submitted by a parent

April 14, 2011
We are nearing the end of our 5th year at FCS. We have two children in the school and are very happy with it. It offers a well-rounded education for the whole human being, with a minimum of testing. It emphasizes cooperation over competition. The teachers and staff are very keen on helping each child achieve his/her potential in a positive, values-based way. The arts are given significant weight; concepts learned in the classroom are reinforced through projects, presentations and field trips; and responsibility for the earth is emphasized. While a brilliant child who is working several grades above his or her age level may not find the curriculum demanding enough, for the majority of children, this is a great school. The current head of school is such a blessing compared to the individual he replaced, and teachers seem genuinely happy.

- submitted by a parent

March 03, 2011
Quaker values are an important part of FCS, which really gives children a supportive and loving community to grow in. My child is in her 6th year at the school and has thrived there. All her teachers have been excellent. The school has a strong focus on experiential learning including many field trips and service projects and the academics are exciting. The kids often work together and an atmosphere of cooperation rather than competition is fostered. If you are looking for a place for your child to learn rather than constantly be assessed with standardized tests, where children are known and valued as unique individuals, you should be looking at FCS.

- submitted by a parent
no rating
September 29, 2010
As the Director of Admissions and Outreach at FCS, I would like to correct the erroneous categorical statement attributed to the director of admissions in the posting of July 12, 2010, and affirm the related statement in the posting of August 4, 2010. (It appears that the entire July 12 posting may refer to a situation of several years ago, before my time in this position.) FCS embraces students with a range of learning styles, and in so doing we are able to serve students with mild learning differences (as well as students with advanced abilities). However, we cannot accommodate students with substantial learning differences who need specialized services across the curriculum. Our teachers are excellent and well-qualified, but they do not have the credentials required for teaching students with special needs. I welcome inquiries, and urge all to attend one of our Open Houses, dates and times to be found on our website, www.friendscommunityschool.org. Connie Belfiore Director of Admissions and Outreach Friends Community School Connie@friendscommunityschool.org 301-441-2100 x129

- submitted by a school leader

August 04, 2010
The school has greatly benefited from the addition of a strong head of school in the last 2 years. While there were some issues with turnover during the transition to a new head, the staff has stabilized and are doing a wonderful job. I have had two children there for the last 3 years and they are progressing well in all areas. The small classrooms allow the teachers to accommodate a wide variety of learning styles including some special needs but they are not specifically a special needs school. They do encourage parents to participate in the classroom particularly at younger ages. I found this very helpful.there,

- submitted by a parent

July 12, 2010
It would be difficult to rate this school as "great" because there is such a wide discrepancy in teaching qualifications and aptitude from classroom to classroom. There have been many transitions in the first/second grade classrooms over the last several years, a grade level that needs confident and well-qualified teachers. There have been so many staff changes over the last 3-5 years, and it seems that many of the veteran teachers left and the school has had trouble filling vacancies, resorting to hiring a large percentage of parents as teachers. The school probably works well for easy going, bright students whose parents just want them to be happy, but when the director of admissions says that they are unable to accommodate students who need extra attention due to learning differences, as she did to us, she means it categorically.

- submitted by a parent

March 29, 2010
Both of my children have always been very happy at FCS. They have been there since kindergarten and are now in 5th and 3rd grades. They have always loved their teachers and they have thrived at the school. The Head is fabulous as are the teachers.

- submitted by a parent

December 31, 2009
We are very pleased with our Kindergartener's experience at FCS. It is such a nuturing school and we love the small class sizes. We are very confident our child will flourish here!

- submitted by a parent

October 24, 2009
We have two children at this school and have been here ..this is our 5th year. This school is unbelievable - an amazing education delivered in a manner that ensures children develop confidence in their capacity to learn. The teachers and administration it top notch -- all this and a progressive environment with a diverse population. The kids all treat each other with enormous respect. You can't beat the critical thinking and writing skills at this school.

- submitted by a parent

July 07, 2009
We have 2 children at FCS and are very pleased with the schools performance. The school is now located in a new building and has a new Head. The new Head has helped create a very positive attitude among the school s teachers, staff and parents. FCS has a very progressive curriculum and a much appreciated set of additional classes such as art, music, and PE. The school strives to teach the children to be independent thinkers and to develop a strong sense of who they are as people. My children feel respected as individuals, and in turn, show respect for the teachers another children.

- submitted by a parent

June 23, 2009
We love this school. The teachers and staff are very nurturing and encouraging and they treat the students with respect. The classes are small, which allows each student plenty of individual attention. Field trips is a regular part of the curriculum. We couldn't have been happier with our experience, and look forward to the next school year!

- submitted by a parent
no rating
June 23, 2009
So far, so good as far as we are concerned. My husband and I are very pleased with conflict resolution that is taught as young as kindergarten. The portfolios that grow throughout their education at FCS is wonderful. I have had reservations about how the children are taught to spell, however the accessibility to books, encouragement to read and ready reading environment have worked wonders with our child.

- submitted by a parent

June 23, 2009
Very much enjoying it for our children. The class size ensures one on one interaction on a daily basis, which we believe is critical in properly teaching!

- submitted by a parent

March 22, 2009
My child had a terrible experience at this school. Her teacher seemed to dislike her and was very unsupportive of her learning style. The reading program is terrible and the children don't learn to spell. We left the school after two years.

- submitted by a parent

February 28, 2009
I went to this school for about 4 years. I have really enjoyed it. It has taught me a lot about myself and quakerism. It is an absolutely spectacular school. My mother and father also really enjoy this school. The teachers are great, especially the 8th grade ones.

- submitted by a student

January 23, 2009
I have 2 children at FCS and am very happy with their progress. They love going to school. FCS has a new headmaster and he is doing a wonderful job.

- submitted by a parent

October 24, 2008
I am a 7th grader at FCS and it's the best school ever! I have been going since kindergarten! I am so lucky to be going to such a wonderful school!

- submitted by a student

January 19, 2008
We are very pleased with our 5-year old's experience at FCS. More important, so is he. He is having a terrific time and is blossoming academically. He is learning in an environment that is nurturing and guided by a deliberate curriculum. This has been a year of transition (new Head of School and new building). Fortunately, it all appears to have settled quite nicely. A careful, thorough search was conducted for the new Head, who appears to be great. We look forward to working with him.

- submitted by a parent

January 17, 2008
FCS is a wonderful, creative Quaker/progressive school, in a new 'green' campus very close to U.MD/College Park. I have a happy Kindergartener and 3rd grader. My 3rd grader also was accepted at Sidwell and we felt that FCS offered a similarly wonderful elementary/middle school education for a much more reasonable cost in much more convenient location for us. A new Head is starting at FCS next year who seems spectacular and the Quaker/progressive curriculum is a wonderful alternative to the testing oriented public school systems in the region. It is also very affordable compared to independent schools in the region.

- submitted by a parent

September 24, 2007
We are parents of a kindergartner and couldn't be more pleased with FCS. There is a new head of school this fall, a beautiful new building that just opened, and imaginative, responsive, and nurturing teachers (though also firm, from what we've seen). An engaged community with a strong sense of values. Our son's transition to kindergarten was remarkably easy and as parents we have been very happy with the whole package. Small school, but offers music, PE, Spanish, art, experiential learning and academics responding to a range of abilities, and lots of time outdoors from kindergarten on. Tuition is very reasonable for an area private school. FCS now goes through 8th grade. We have quickly become strong supporters of the school, what it is trying to do for the children, and its vision for the future.

- submitted by a parent

July 28, 2007
The school suffers from terrible, autocratic leadership. The quality of teachers is very uneven -- some are very good, others are in the wrong profession. We were very disappointed with the curriculum and the school's faiure to provide proper oversight in the class room.

- submitted by a parent

June 07, 2007
Very, very poor leadership that is greatly impacting the quality of the school and future of the school. The head is autocratic, difficult to deal with and applies policy as he sees fit.

- submitted by a parent

May 11, 2007
No real oversight of any kind exists regarding the management, curriculum or teacher quaility. Drive farther, look harder- there are better places for the $.

- submitted by a parent

April 02, 2007
Dreadful experience the first year, Kindergarten. Much better after that. Very loving environment in general but teacher quality varies widely and can be damaging in such a small school.

- submitted by a parent

April 19, 2005
My son went to FCS for his first three years of school. (We then moved from the area.) The teachers were caring and very professional. It gave him a good foundation for his education. He went on the graduate with honors, and received 9 awards for community service in high school. FCS taught not only academics, but fairness, ethics, principles, and of course peace. Parent involvement is encouraged, and strengthens the prrogram. Teachers are creative. The school was new when Matthew was there, so there were not many extra curricular activities. However, drama, and student participation were encouraged. I highly recommend FCS.

- submitted by a parent

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Friends Community School
5901 Westchester Park Drive, College Park, MD  20740
(301) 441-2100
Last modified Friends Community School is a Private school that serves grades K-8
Friends Community School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 45 reviews. Top